Tag Archives: Law enforcement

Are we going back to the bad old days of gang warfare and that’s ok for some people?

There was a top 40 song from my bubble-gum music days, 1974, that even at the time I thought was kind of hokey, kind of fanciful. The name of the groups was “Paper Lace” which sort of made it’s seriousness even more marginal. It started, “My daddy was a cop, on the east side of Chicago, back in the U.S.A. back in the bad old days” Interestingly the song was about Chicago where 104 people were shot over the past 4th of July week 2018, not 1925!!??

So ya, I knew who Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, all those people were, but they had been 40 years earlier, way outside of my experience in Boston, where ya, there was gang warfare, but no where near the scale of Chicago, and people who weren’t involved didn’t get hurt.

Law Enforcement

These are the lyrics:  This is the UTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-L0NpaErkk

Lyrics
My daddy was a cop on the east side of Chicago
Back in the U.S.A. back in the bad old days
In the heat of a summer night
In the land of the dollar bill
When the town of Chicago died
And they talk about it still
When a man named Al Capone
Tried to make that town his own
And he called his gang to war
With the forces of the law
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was
Glory be!
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed!
And the sound of the battle rang
Through the streets of the old east side
‘Til the last of the hoodlum gang
Had surrendered up or died
There was shouting in the street
And the sound of running feet
And I asked someone who said
“‘Bout a hundred cops are dead!”
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was
Glory be!
I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed!
And ther was no sound at all
But the clock upon the wall
Then the door burst open wide
And my daddy stepped inside
And he kissed my mama’s face
And he brushed her tears away
The night Chicago died
Na-na na, na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na
The night Chicago died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed!
The night Chicago died
Na-na na, na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na
The night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was
Glory be!
The night Chicago died
Na-na na, na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na
The night Chicago died
Brother what a night the people saw
Brother what a fight the people saw
Yes indeed!
Songwriters: Mitch Murray / Peter Callander
The Night Chicago Died lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
I don’t know, did Al Capone really think he could take over Chicago? I’m not even sure I know what the allusion means in the song. But doesn’t that seem to be the case today?
On the other hand the violence of these few people led to the completely unwarranted death of, if you believe the song, “…’bout a hundred cops are dead…” Certainly over the course of the 1920s and 30s hundreds of law enforcement, Chicago city cops, FBI, remember this is where Elliot Ness became famous he was an ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agent. Many law enforcement were killed by the evil of those who were completely motivated by greed and power. Did law enforcement have issues today and then? Yup they do. Does that justify conducting war against law enforcement in this day and age? No, absolutely not, deal with the issues as they arise, work hard to weed out the people who shouldn’t be carrying a badge and gun. I was a Coast Guard Law enforcement officer. My brother is a State Police officer, because of my service I came to know many civilian local police and federal law enforcement. In my interactions I saw all of these people as very honest, high integrity, wanting to do a dangerous job to serve the people of this country. The vast majority of people of people in law enforcement are genuinely doing their best to serve and protect.

 

If someone wants to slap me down about copyright, I will take it down, I’m not trying to steal, I’m trying to create some genuine empathy and awareness that something is going on today that sure isn’t unprecedented maybe. When I first saw this post, ahhh I thought, maybe even a little creepy, but the more I thought about it and this song came to mind, why does the loved one of anyone who puts on a badge have to worry, have to cry, have to miss their wedding day because someone else just decides to take their pique out on someone else? The post I’m referring to follows:

Murdered Officer’s Fiance Takes Solo Wedding Photos

Police Officers bide

byHollyMatkin

Nov 24, 2017-edited

Nikki Salgot’s photos honor the memory of her fiance, Sgt. Collin Rose, who was murdered a year before their wedding.

In the fall of 2016, Nikki Salgot was an excited bride-to-be. She and her fiancé, Wayne State University Police Sergeant Collin Rose, had just less than one year to go before their Oct. 14, 2017 wedding date.

She never expected she would be alone in her wedding photos.

While on patrol on the night of Nov. 22, 2016, Sgt. Rose, 29, checked out with a suspicious man in an area where numerous thefts from vehicles had recently taken place. When he attempted to detain the suspect, the man shot Sgt. Rose in the head, killing him.

“It’s been almost a year, and it still feels like yesterday he walked out the door for work, and never came home,” Salgot, 29, posted on her Facebook page on Oct. 14 – the day that would have been her wedding day. “I loved a hero and paid the price. Given the chance, knowing the outcome, I’d do it all over again.

 

Despite her grief, Salgot looked for a way to honor her fiance and their pending nuptials. “I needed that day to not be ignored and forgotten,” she told Women’s Health.

She decided to ask her former classmate, wedding photographer Rachel Smaller, if she would photograph Salgot in her wedding dress, as a memorial shoot.

 

“I remember being in tears on the way there, thinking, ‘How am I going to do this? How am I going to find a way to take photos that will do this justice, not just for her but for him?'” Smaller, 28, told Today.

According to Women’s Health, Salgot bought a wedding dress while Sgt. Rose was still alive, but admitted to him that it wasn’t her first choice. She said the dress she truly loved was unlike anything anyone would expect her to wear, and that it was too expensive.

“He told me, ‘If it’s what you want and what will make you happy, go get it. We’ll figure it out,’’ Salgot recounted to Women’s Health. “So, I went back and I bought the dress after Collin died.”

Salgot wore that dress to Sgt. Rose’s memorial shoot.

 

“She was the picture of grief and resilience and strength and vulnerability and authenticity, all at once,” Smaller told Today. “She had an ease about her….She was very empowered.”

Despite their solemn purpose, the women also found themselves enjoying the day.

“There were moments when Nikki would shift her dress around, or step on it and start laughing. I wanted to capture those moments, too, to show that she can still laugh,” Smaller explained. “I needed to tell the story of this woman who’s lost the love of her life, but is still going to have closure, and still going to be his wife one way or another.”

 

Inside, however, the year’s struggles still weighed heavily for Salgot throughout the shoot. “I was angry that I was standing alone in a wedding dress and utterly lost in life,” she told Women’s Health. “I had lost my rock, my other half.”

When Smaller gave her the photos from the session, however, Salgot was faced with a new realization.

“She captured images that still vividly show the pain left behind; images that show I am still able to laugh, smile and be me; images that show this loss has not and will not destroy me; and my favorite, images that show I am still just as fierce as ever and refuse to let this define me,” she said in an Oct. 16 Facebookpost.

 

“She managed to capture more than I could have ever hoped for; things I wasn’t entirely sure existed within me anymore,” Salgot wrote.

Salgot said Sgt. Rose continues to inspire her, and that she is still working on the education he encouraged her to obtain.

“I am learning to accept my new normal and everything that it brings to me, good and bad,” Salgot told Women’s Health.

 

Smaller has nothing but confidence in Salgot’s ability to persevere.

“This is a woman who is not broken. This did not break her,” Smaller told Today. “To me, she is an inspiration.”

Sgt. Rose was a five-and-one-half year veteran of the Wayne State University Police Department. He was also a K9 officer, and had previously served with the Richland Police Department. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant after his death.

He was just one credit shy of a Master’s degree in Dispute Resolution when he was killed, WZZM reported. In December, 2016, Wayne State University conferred Sgt. Rose’s degree posthumously, and Salgot accepted the diploma on his behalf.

Raymond Durham, 61, has been charged with first-degree murder, murder of a peace officer, possession of a firearm by a felon, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in relationship to Sgt. Rose’s murder.

After Officer Rose’s murder, two Detroit officers were shot by Durham before he was apprehended.”

Yea, initially I thought a little creepy, but then I felt the poignancy. Carrying the flag that was presented at his funeral, his hat. A 29 year old police officer, finishing his masters degree, getting married, every indication of someone who would be a fine police officer and man, his life ahead of him. Then shot by a  61 year old, over stealing from cars. We seem to have so much compassion for the people who commit the crimes, who have no compunction about physically harming or taking something important to another, there are people out there who would question why the police were bothering him “he’s just stealing from cars” they would say. You doubt that? I’ve heard those people say things like that. The vast majority of people today, living in a big city or anywhere, are tired of the crime, the threats to their safety and poverty. Yet we have a few people who want to make it about how someone is some how driven to crime, that we should simply forgive and move on. We’ve seen these times before, in the wild west days, in the gang days, to some extent in the 1960s. There has been a return to sanity and a marginalizing of those who would either commit the actual crimes, or those who would make excuses for those people and ignore the needs for safety and protection of the vast majority of those who want to live in peace, secure in their homes and their possessions. We will have a return to that sanity when people have heard enough excuses and refuse to accept the nonsense and platitudes of those trying to justify the violence.

No child should have to sit at home all night hearing his mother crying, gun shots going off and wondering if his parent police officer is coming home. No woman should be deprived of her wedding day, because a man decides to kill over stealing from vehicles. We need to hold our law enforcement accountable and the vast majority of those in law enforcement expect and appreciate that. But we also have to support them, help them to know that the majority of us out here appreciate all they do and we are ready to be there for them. There has to be a return to sanity, hold those who would cause this harm accountable. Stop with the phoney excuses and lame compassion, because the vast majority of people out there don’t commit crimes and want it to stop so they can go on and live safe, productive lives. I don’t think that’s too much to ask and I cannot understand how someone else can justify otherwise.

Christians are called to serve and protect the innocent as soldiers and police

On this Veteran’s Day weekend, I would like to recognize those who have served. Military service is inherently dangerous, whether you’re carrying a weapon or not. Military service can often put people in very difficult circumstances that don’t necessarily subject them to hostile action, but can still present life-threatening circumstances. I served 29 years in the Coast Guard Reserve. The Coast Guard Reserve is different than other military reserves. It is such a small organization, about 12,000 people in the entire United States. In order to effectively train and serve, we augmented regular active duty units and were expected to maintain qualifications, including weapons, to match our active duty. In those years I did law enforcement, which never entailed my using lethal force, but there were occasions that were a little sketchy. Add in severe weather and sea conditions I had to work in and other conditions performing search and rescue, I certainly came closer to dangerous circumstances than my regular employment associates. After Sept 11 I was mobilized for about nine months, when I was demobilized, went back to my civilian employer who waited the time they were legally mandated to wait and then fired me. When I went to the Veterans Administration for some kind of protection or redress they were worse than useless. Thank you for your service. I would never say people shouldn’t serve, they should, but there are physical risks as well as professional.

There has always been an element in Christianity that has claimed that Christians cannot legitimately serve in the military or police. That is anything that might put them in a position where they might have to kill someone in the course of their duty. In today’s military that argument is becoming more and more invalid. In today’s military there are about five people for every one person in the field. That includes people who repair and maintain equipment. That’s people who provide provisions for soldiers, who provide clerical services (the ones who made sure I got paid), those who provide pastoral services, medical/dental services, training, recreational etc. One can serve in the military and probably never be in a position where they will even have a weapon, no less use one. They still perform very important functions, making it a lot easier for the people in the field to effectively perform their duties.

In Dr Gene Veith’s book God at Work Dr Veith presents Dr Martin Luther’s perspective, which Dr Luther primarily presented in his pamphlet Whether Soldiers Too Can Be Saved and was his response to those in his time tried to preclude Christians from the military or police. The following from Dr Veith gives Dr Luther’s perspective, which I think much more faithfully presents the Biblical perspective than the superficial understanding of some Christian sects:

“…Luther asked whether God is allowed to take a human life or to punish sin. Indeed, He is. Luther maintained that it is God, working through the offices of the judge or soldier, who takes life and punishes sin. [I would like to note, that to be consistent the “conscientious objector” would also not be able to serve in the legal system. This person might be put in the position of judge with the authority to condemn someone guilty of a crime. It does seem that “conscientious objectors’ are only concerned if it’s they who are put in danger – Driskell] Christians can indeed occupy these offices, being called to them as divine vocations. So a soldier is loving his neighbor when he protects his country, and a judge is loving his neighbor when he puts a criminal in prison or delivers him over to the executioner…”

“And yet this by no means negates the commands to love our enemies and to forgive those who trespass against us. In their personal lives, soldiers, judges and executioners must indeed love and forgive their enemies. But in their vocations, by virtue of their offices, they are authorized to ‘bear the sword.”

With instances of civilian police overstepping by using too much force, this is instructive. All those who bear the sword are only authorized “the force necessary to compel compliance”. These are  what we as Coast Guard officers are held to. I don’t know if civilian police are under the same limit, I have to believe they are. Once you have a suspect under control you are no longer allowed to apply physical force. If someone’s being a jerk you have to ignore it, you can’t take it personally and frankly I think there are a lot of poorly trained law enforcement that feel they shouldn’t be subject to any personal insult. As a Christian under authority you certainly have a duty to safeguard someone you’ve taken responsibility for by detaining or arresting. Anything else, you just can’t take it personally.

Having said that, Christians are certainly authorized to serve by asserting force. If they are protecting their fellow citizens against enemy aggression or criminal activity a Christian soldier or law enforcement officer is serving the innocent, that is certainly a worthy pursuit. Peter baptized the Roman Centurion (Acts 10:47) Jesus certainly didn’t call out the Roman Centurion who appealed to Jesus for his servant’s life. Paul gladly accepted the protection of the Roman cohort against the Jews in Jerusalem who were trying to kill him. God certainly blessed Joshua and David, to name a few, who were soldiers in the Old Testament.

In this day and age fewer people are credibly trying to make a case of “conscientious” objector. We could look at Augustine’s justifications for Christian military and police, but that would take a long time and I’m not up to it. Nonetheless, for those who are Christians and have served and have even been put in the situation where they had to kill someone, and did so within their authority, please know that you are forgiven. Exodus 23 says “thou shall not murder”. Killing in the line of duty is serving the innocent and a just and righteous God against the guilty, it does not violate the commandment against murder. If you had to kill, that does not mean that you are lost or cut off from God. Jesus died for all our sins and it really can’t be called what you did in duty to the innocent as sin. But if you need to cope with this by knowing that either way, Jesus died for you. This does not preclude you from Jesus, His church and all the benefits that you are entitled to in the church as a baptized, confirmed member of His church.

So we honor our veterans as a country accordingly, and we at First Saint Johns also honor our veterans as men and women who probably at some point in their military service had to function under duress, danger, discomfort, enemy fire, or just being a long way from home in a strange environment. In this day and age you’ve done more than about 90% of the rest of the population and deserve a day of honor and respect in your life. For those in the rest of society, business, government who cause veterans unnecessary hardship or refuse to serve, well Jesus does forgive all sins. I hope you can live with your conscience. For those who grieve over those who have been justly imprisoned and have to live in difficult circumstances, try “hotracking” over a torpedo tube as my brother who served on a submarine had to. I’m not saying that prisoners should be mistreated, but our military endure a lot to protect, even if they’re not being shot at.

Blue Lives Matter Too II

I have really been mulling this for some time and I’m still not sure I’m where I’m supposed to be. I am sure, based on the appalling events in NYC that things to have to be said. When you have a huge mob parading on the streets of NYC chanting “kill the pigs ” that is unacceptable and should be condemned by any person!
As I’ve written before, yes I do have a biased perspective but so do those who ignore such absolutely gross demonstrations. My brother has served as a Law Enforcement Officer for about twenty years now, he currently serves as a Massachusetts State Police officer. As a Coast Guard Petty Officer I was a Law enforcement officer and in addition, as a reservist for 29 years, I served with many civilian police who were also Coast Guard reservists or other civilian police at all levels of law enforcement. And currently I serve, I hope well, as a police chaplain for the York, Pa. police department. I have way too many brothers and sisters who do a great job day in and day out, who put up with a lot of grief and conduct themselves professionally. I can honestly say that in almost four years of serving as a police chaplain I have been very impressed with the level of professionalism in the York PD. And the professionalism I’ve seen as a Law Enforcement officer and serving with so many others.

I am really trying to impress upon the reader that I would say the vast majority of law enforcement that I’ve worked with are dedicated professionals who serve and protect to the utmost degree and most of what they do goes unnoticed and unrecognized. It really does stink when a Law Enforcement officer does a great job and does it without any recognition, but one misstep is immediately pounced upon and mercilessly prosecuted.

So now that I’ve bent over backwards, I do need to say this. I have also had interactions with civilian police that was just not acceptable. My training always emphasized that my main job was to defuse and contain difficult situations. Bear in mind that when a Law enforcement officer arrives on scene they do not really know what is going on. They have received a general description, that is by now third hand, and they really don’t know what they are confronting. The smart LE officer is going to approach any situation cautiously and trying to attempt to assess what is going on. Sure, if a life is in jeopardy you move to save and protect, otherwise you just don’t rush in. If you’re doing your job correctly your presence should start to defuse a situation, professional demeanor and actions should make anyone involved realize that they need to just stop. Too often incompetent or inexperienced LE rush in without knowing what’s going on and cause more problems then they resolve. People end up getting hurt that shouldn’t have otherwise been hurt.

I have had some personal (non-duty) negative experiences with civilian local LE officers in a number of situations and I have to confess that they have almost all been with older officers, who have been a patrolman for years. I would submit that an officer who hasn’t advanced in years, may already be an obvious subject as to why he hasn’t advanced. I have no doubt that most are hard working, serving men and women who do a great job, but I have run into some who demonstrate straight out an unprofessional attitude. Why does that happen? Too often it has been a situation where it has been too difficult to discharge a police officer, even one who has been a consistent under performer and even has a string of complaints and serious issues. Why? Too often it has been blind Public Service regulations and union action. This whole system has come down to a system that has become adversarial instead of serving the public good. Too often it’s to serve the interests of those who are entrenched in the public service system instead of the public good. That just must come to an end.

As part of the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation into the Ferguson, Mo incident, one officer has been discharged and two others have been told that they probably will be. I would concede that they may well be victims, no I don’t have inside information, that they may be the scapegoats. But I honestly suspect that these are officers who have had repeated incidents, have not acted professionally, have abused their authority and probably should have been discharged long ago and probably would have been if there had been an objective system to conduct personnel management. I can say as a Coast Guard Petty Officer I was not covered under any Civil Service protection. It is, comparatively speaking, rather easy to discharge and to discipline anyone in the military and that would be especially in a service like the Coast Guard that has so much direct interaction with U.S. civilians. In addition there is an “up or out” system in the military, if you do not advance in a set number of years, you are discharged. I know that this kind of system can work. I don’t have an in-depth experience in the York, PD but I can say they work in a difficult environment and from any other objective source that I know of, do it in an excellent fashion. I would also note that this is a fairly young department and subject to newer rules than many who’ve been serving for many years.

I would be willing to bet that many in the command structure of Ferguson, Mo, wish now that they had made the extra effort to discharge police officers who were too much about them and their ego. Who were too much about rushing in and making rash judgments, having a big mouth instead of making judicious use of methods to defuse difficult situations. Police Dept commands, Civil Service and Police Unions, need to start to think in terms of public service and doing what needs to be done to defuse and control instead of having ego problems and exacerbating situations.

I have had the privilege of working with the “Community Services” department of the York PD and they make excellent efforts to reach out to the community to build positive relationships. It can be done, but as they say in the Coast Guard one “ah poop, can wipe out a couple of dozen of attaboys”. (OK, it’s phrased a little more colorfully), but the point is, you can have the vast majority of a Law Enforcement agency doing a great job, and just one person who has previously demonstrated who does not have the proper temperament to pull a lot of great work down in a heartbeat. Yes Civil Service and Unions have their proper place, but the focus must now be on making sure the public good is being served. If it was a couple of bad apples in Ferguson whose actions culminated in the latest problem, those officers should have been indentified (and they were probably well known) and discharged.

We simply cannot afford any more Fergusons or any other police department that is tolerating incompetence or even outright offensiveness. I am thankful to God that I live in a city where unrest could have easily resulted, but because the local police department has done such a great job on a consistent and long-term basis that trust has been built between the police department and the community. I have no doubt that a lot of destruction and injury was avoided because of the commendable job that has been done. Other communities have to be as pro-active. Get over the excuses and the lack of resolve, it needs to happen, there is way too much at stake to tolerate people who are simply not suitable, do not have the proper temperament and are a crisis just waiting to happen. I’m not saying it’s an easy job, it’s not. But having served in an agency that does do an outstanding job in many missions (the United States Coast Guard), and with a police department that has done and is doing a great job, I know it can be done and it just has to be. Put the egos and the bluster and the nonsense aside and defuse the problem and remember the common good. A lot of different sectors need to heed this.